Is cadet pay considered "financial aid"?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by derek44, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. derek44

    derek44 Member

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    School is counting DS cadet stipend towards the cost of attendance by limiting financial aid in the amount of the yearly stipend. Is cadet pay considered a type of financial aid?
     
  2. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    I don't think it really matters if the stipend is wages or financial aid. Unfortunately, the school is saying that DS and/or your family can afford to pay a certain amount. They are keeping that amount constant and they are reducing the aid by the amount of the stipend. I would assume they would do the same if he had another job. I know, it sucks.

    A stipend by definition is fee for wages. If the stipend (or scholarship) is used to offset tuition or required fees it is exempt from federal income tax. If the stipend or scholarship is used to offset room and board it is taxable. ROTC scholarships and the service academies are specifically exempted from this requirement in the tax code, even though they could be considered payment for services. So the tuition, books, and the monthly stipend students receive from ROTC are exempt from tax. Pay for summer training, however, is taxable, and the student will receive a W2 for this work. Unfortunately none of this makes a difference to your DS school.
     
  3. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

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  4. cajuncarrier

    cajuncarrier Member

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    This issue comes up every year!! While some on here state that it is absolutely taxable, others say not. I sure wish we could get a 100% absolute definitive answer. Some cut and paste directly from one area of the tax code while others reference another section stating otherwise. (As you have just stated.) My CPA, who used to work for the internal revenue service says no. Every year I provide proof of the money DS has received and every year it isn't affected. So it doesn't apply to HIS financial aid. I guess every school does it differently. I freak out each year, but my CPA says no. I just don't know anymore.
     
  5. QA1517

    QA1517 Member

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    Here is how our accountant defined it to us.

    A stipend is an allowance given (in this case for training, not working). By the dept. of Labor standards it does not have to have social security or medicare withheld by the issuer. It is considered taxable at the end of the year, however most cadets cases they don't earn enough money so they would get a full refund anyways.

    We always just turned in whatever papers ds was given and all w-2's and let the accountant do his thing.
     
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  6. Larry321

    Larry321 Member

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  7. derek44

    derek44 Member

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    The question is not if the stipend is taxable, but whether it counts toward the schools Cost of Attendance as financial aid, which limits the amount of other aid the cadet can receive. It appears the answer to the question is no, it cannot legally be counted as financial aid.

    37 U.S. Code § 209 - Members of precommissioning programs
    (a)Senior ROTC Members in Advanced Training.—

    (1) Except when on active duty, a member of the Senior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps who is selected for advance training under section 2104 of title 10 is entitled to a monthly subsistence allowance at a rate prescribed under paragraph (2) beginning on the day he starts advanced training and ending upon the completion of his instruction under that section, but in no event shall any member receive such pay for more than 30 months.

    (2) The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe by regulation the monthly rates for subsistence allowances provided under this section. The rate may not be less than $250 per month, but may not exceed $674 per month.

    (3) A subsistence allowance under this section may not be considered financial assistance requiring additional service within the meaning of the third sentence of section 6(d)(1) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 456(d)(1)).

    Source: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/37/209
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
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  8. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    The original question was not whether the stipend is taxable, and the poster did not mention FAFSA. I assume therefore that this is an internal determination made by that particular school.
    I don't think the citation is relevant or will have any bearing on this particular school's policy.

    But that's just my two scents. Why not take this up with the financial aid office of the school and tell us what they say.
     
  9. derek44

    derek44 Member

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    No it is very much relevant. The school cannot legally count that as financial aid. What is more relevant the Higher Education Act Technical Corrections Bill (H.R.1777), which amended the original act to make exemptions for veterans benefits, including ROTC.

    SOURCE:http://www.financialaid.iastate.edu/students/veteran.php
     
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  10. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

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    One sticking point may be that these laws may only apply to FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID programs. If the college is pulling back funds from their own private college scholarships/grants that they had awarded to the student, then they may be within their rights to do so, as long as they are not limiting the federal financial aid programs. Has the school increased the expected family contribution, or kept it the same, while reducing their financial aid package of what they were going to previously provide?
     
  11. derek44

    derek44 Member

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    I am speaking of federal financial aid. They had reduced the federal aid package of what they were going to previously provide, specifically citing ROTC benefits.
     

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